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Be Here Early: New Album Releases 6-30-17 – 7-6-17

Thank You For Being A Friend – 88 Fingers Louie – Louder than emocore, fast as UK Punk, and a shout anthem ramalamdingdong plus hard drumming – C+

Party’s Over – Astrid S – The star of Norway’s version of “American Idol,” now makes EDM pop songs of varying quality – C

B Sides And Rarities – Beach House – Or as I know them, songs. It’s like falling asleep on the beach and waking with a slight headache – C

Funk Wave Bounce Vol 1 – Calvin Harris – This is to funk what the new DJ Khaled album is to hop hop, filled to the brim with superstar featured artists performing second rate songs. That’s second, not third rate – B-

Fantastic Negrito EP – Fantastic Negrito – This should be good but it is like all that authentic r&b sound, the songs suck bad – C-

4:44 – Jay-Z – “The Story Of O.J.” runs circles round the rest of the album, an astonishing treatise on the black experience that puts Chris Rock’s “You wouldn’t be me if you could, and I’m rich” to life. The always edgy racism that fuels the USA much as cotton pickers fueled the South is a hard truth that resonates well beyond the album and into the heart of Jay-Z’s career and rap itself. The rest of the album is all of a piece filled with obvious samples, self-deluding half truths, and into, and out of the closet, as he prostrates himself before Queen Bey and the rest of his woman filled world, including mother and daughter. The revenge of the gods, of course.  If “Family Feud” isn’t his worst song, it is his worst important song and “Smile” about his mother who came out as a lesbian, uses the wrong Stevie Wonder sample: for God’s sake, this is a reason for rejoicing: love has found love not needs to find it. But the one mistake so huge that it is the album: he forgot that we loved Jay-Z not because of who he said he was because of how he sounded (we don’t love No I.D. in the slightest -the miserable fuck) and this doesn’t sound like fun – B

Like A Woman – Kacy Hill – A Kweezy signing, lo fi droney electronica, it takes awhile but it kicks in in its wane and  slight way – B-

Postcards – Meadowlark – Folk pop duo from Bristol, replete with manbun, the title track is nice enough but that’s more or less it  – C

LANY – LANY – Pretty, soul flicked pop from LA – B-

How The West Was Won – Peter Perrett – The great and only one has a new album, an ode to his wife of over 40 years the great Zena and survival beyond the limits of complicity or necessity, and as good as you dreamt it was. Perrett, after a twenty-one year hiatus, returns with all his skills, and much of his cynicism, intact on an album that fits in well with the first three Only Ones album. It is either the power of love or the trick of alchemy but either way, you’ll find these tracks of old school One Wave enthralling and gorgeous, both aching and solid, the heroin replaced by heroine. You won’t skip anything but the title track and “Man Of Extremes” are world class. One more thing, he should have recorded it under his band – ALBUM OF THE WEEK –  A

Better Places – Pierce Fulton – Indie pop Dj who is really quite good at both pop (the excellent “Life In Letters”) and House (the also excellent “1 800 Succeed”), where he falters is in big ballads (the awful “The Sound”) – B-

GN – Ratboys – They’re a lo fi Lone Justice, with the songs to back it up. “Elvis In The Freezer” is as good as its name – B+

Hydrograde – Stone Sour – When I said I don’t like modern rock, I didn’t mean I don’t like ANY modern rock. The solo on the title track is  so enthralling that all you can do is smile when you hear it, and Corey Taylor sounds like the best rock singer in the world today. Tight, loud, metal hard rock without a core to be found anywhere – B+

Where I Won’t Be Found – Seven Lions – Same ol mix and match EDM pop – C+

Don’t You Worry, Baby – Sir Sly – Ho hum electronic pop, sometimes they nail a two part lead vocal – C

You Will Regret – Ski Mask The Slump God – xxxtentacion’s buddy, they met in Juv, this is louder and more fun than the Soundcamp revolution tends to be, when I first heard about this sound and gave em a spin I was surprised it wasn’t more fun. This makes all the sense in the world, all drugs and danger and childish rhymes, and a whole lotta fun  – B+

1967 Sunshine Tomorrow – The Beach Boys – ” a remastered Wild Honey — complete with the record’s first-ever stereo mix — and adds 54 rare recordings from the era, including the unreleased Lei’d in Hawaii live LP, other concert performances captured during the late ’60s and outtakes from the sessions for Wild Honey and Smiley Smile…” Translation: Wild Honey isn’t Pet Sounds but what the hell, it still deserves much love – A

Ladies And Gentlemen… – The Rolling Stones – This is the 1974 concert movie and it sounds incredible in 2017 – A

Sons Of  The Palomino – The Sons Of The Palomino – Jeffrey Steele has a song called “Authentic” here, and authentic is what these country rocks plus fiddle are and then some. With a great roundup of everybody from Emmylou Harris to Vince Gill (that’s John Anderson on the above mentioned track), the songs are just fine, the performances first rate all the way through, and the atmosphere takes you all back to the Hollywood club back in the early 1990s, an exceptional album – B+

TLC – TLC – Much more than you’d expect, the first Single “Way back” is better in context and “Haters” is a giddy banger. Lisa is missed and so is Dallas but somewhere they find the people they were circa Fan Mail – B

Layers – UZ – Terrific EDM trap album from the previously anonymous French DJ – B+

The Storm – ZZ Ward – Modern blues pop and not all that either, like if she could sing as well as Adele it still wouldn’t be rolling in the deep – C-

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